The Stories Jesus Told

by Peter Amsterdam

Jesus was an incredible teacher. His words, backed up by His actions, changed countless lives during His ministry on earth and have continued to do so for two millennia. His teachings, and the influence of His life, have had an unparalleled impact on humanity. Billions of people have fashioned their lives and beliefs on the words He spoke over 2,000 years ago. Those words and teachings, recorded in the Gospels, have radically changed humankind’s understanding of God and our relationship to Him. They spoke to the people of Jesus’ day and still speak to the hearts of seekers and believers today.

The life, ministry, death and resurrection of Christ formed the foundation of Christianity and its teachings, its theology. Yet Jesus didn’t teach theology as it’s taught today. He taught like a playwright or a poet. He used metaphor, simile, parable, overstatement, and dramatic action.

One of the most frequent methods Jesus used to convey His message was through telling parables. In fact, one-third of the recorded sayings of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels—that is, Matthew, Mark, and Luke—are in parables. Parables were especially effective because they were stories that engaged the listeners and drew them in. These stories were sometimes shocking or challenged the cultural and religious norms of the day. The listeners were often surprised when the story lines went in unforeseen directions and had unexpected outcomes.

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  • Our fundamental beliefs are generally in accordance with those held by Christians the world over; we also embrace some untraditional doctrines. Our application of the foundation principle of God’s Law of Love that Jesus taught—to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, which He said fulfills “all the law and the prophets”—is a defining feature of our lives and our faith.


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